How Well Do You Know Sewing Terms?



By: J.P. Naomi

6 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

What is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a needle and thread? Sewing, of course! Take this quiz if you think you have what it takes to name these sewing terms!

People who sew may wear this on their finger or thumb to protect against sticking themselves with the needle....

Thimbles are thought to have existed back in 206 BC. It is said that a single steel needle from the Han Dynasty of ancient China was found in a tomb in Jiangling.


Lace is often used as an _________, meaning it is laid on top of another fabric.

An overlay refers to the top layer of fabric when a different fabric is underneath. Lace often has a layer underneath so as to prevent being see-through.


This is known as the inner layer of fabric, fur or other material to provide a neat finish...

Lining not only provides a neat finish, it also conceals things such as padding, interfacing, and the raw edges of seams.


This is where the edge of a piece of cloth is folded narrowly and sewn to prevent the unravelling of the fabric...

There are several types of hems. Two examples are a handkerchief-style edge, which is about .6 cm wide, and a skirt or pant hem which is typically 5-7 cm wide.


This is what you do to temporarily join fabric together with long, removable stitches...

Basting is removed once the permanent sewing is complete.


This is a small tool used for unpicking or cutting stitches...

A seam ripper is known as your best friend in the sewing room. It helps to remove old stitches or even mistaken stitches.


________ are often made for beds by sewing various layers of cloth and using insulating batting in between.

Quilting involves several steps. These include designing, piecing, applique and binding. Quilters do this by hand or by machine.


This is an ancient form of decorative needlework to create designs and pictures...

While embroidery is certainly a hand craft, there now exists machine embroidery. This method of embroidery is used mainly in a commercial setting.


A ________ is a common sewing technique that is used for shaping garments.

Darts are created by stitching out a wedge-shaped fold of fabric. They vary in width and length and can be tapered at one or both ends.


________ is a type of fold formed by doubling fabric back upon itself and securing it in place.

Some men like pleated pants, others do not! Pleats are categorized as pressed or unpressed.


She is a woman who sews and finishes garments, as opposed to the dressmaker...

Seamstresses complement the work of dressmakers, particularly in a manufacturing setting. Seamstresses are able to fit machine-made clothing to fit a real body.


_______ is a type of trim consisting of a strip of folded fabric inserted into the seam to define the edge of a garment.

Usually the fabric strip is cut on the bias or cross-grain, and often it is folded over a cord. Piping can be made from either self-fabric or contrasting fabric.


________ may be used in sewing or tailoring to reinforce seams, make casings, and bind edges.

Twill tape is a flat twill-woven ribbon of either cotton, linen, polyester or wool. It is also used to tie open garments, such as hospital gowns.


This is a triangular or square piece of fabric inserted into a seam to add breadth or reduce stress from tight-fitting clothing...

Gussets were traditionally used at the shoulders, underarms, and hems of shirts. They are made of rectangular lengths of linen to shape the garments to the body.


What is the name of a person who sells small articles for sewing such as buttons, ribbons and zippers?

A haberdasher's shop is known as a haberdashery. In American English, haberdasher is another word for men's outfitter.


_________ are any small tools or accessories used in sewing.

Notions is an umbrella term. It includes all types of accessories such as buttons, snaps, collar stays, thread, pins, marking pens and seam rippers.


This is a tool that looks like an ice pick and is used to poke holes in fabric...

Awls can sometimes be used for pushing out corners or squared-off sewing areas, such as pockets or collars.


The ______ direction refers to the orientation of the weft and warp threads.

The bias runs diagonally to the straight grain of the fabric. This is the stretchiest part on the fabric.


This is an opening in the upper part of trousers or skirts, or at the neck or sleeve of a garment

Plackets allow clothing to be put on or removed easily. It can also be spelled placquet.


A gathered overlay of fabric. The fabric is gathered on two parallel sides and stitched to an underlay, creating a shelf effect...

Ruching is often done in a seam to provide decoration, accent or fullness to a garment.


This is the term for the self-finished edges of fabric...

Selvage, as it is known in the US, is referred to as selvedge in Britain. The selvage of commercially-produced fabrics is often cut off and discarded.


This type of needle is designed to penetrate knit fabrics without nicking or damaging the fabric.

Ballpoint needles are also known as bodkin needles. They are long and thick with a ballpoint end and a large, elongated eye.


A ________ is a sewing clamp that holds the fabric you are about to sew.

A third hand allows you to securely hold one end of your work while you hold the other end. This is helpful for embroidering, hemming and darning!


A ______ is a piece of fabric that is wider at the bottom than at the top.

A godet is found in sleeves, skirts and even bell-bottom trousers! Adding a godet allows for a wider range of motion and flow.


What is used as a base pattern that allows the sewing artist to develop other patterns?

A sloper is often called a block or master pattern. It is highly developed and designed to fit specific measurements.


A _________ is a neckline formed by overlapping the left and right bodice pieces to form a "V".

Surplice comes from the Latin word superpelliceum, from super, "over" and pellicia, "fur garment". It refers also to a liturgical vestment of the Western Christian Church.


This is the word for a fabric tunnel through which elastic or a drawstring is threaded.

Casing is found in elastic waist slacks, as well as sweat pants! The channel at the top of curtains through which the curtain rod runs is also known as casing.


This is the term for a test garment...

Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave. It gets its name from the city of Mosul, Iraq where it was first manufactured.


While Americans use the word 'muslin', the British use this term for test garment...

Toile comes from the French word meaning 'linen cloth' or 'canvas' particularly cloth or canvas for painting.


Sometimes referred to as the 'public' side...

The right side is the 'front' of a piece of fabric which has a distinct front and back side.


What is the word for the opening in a bodice to which a sleeve is attached?

The armscye is the armhole, the fabric edge to which the sleeve is sewn. The length of the armscye is the total length of this edge; the width is the distance across the hole at the widest point.


_______ length is the length at which fabric hits right about the hip.

Babydoll length is particularly popular with women's sleepwear.


This word refers to threads running the length of a woven fabric...

Warp is also known as the lengthwise grain, with little to no stretch. It is about 90° from the weft and 45° from the bias.


In Great Britain, another word for baste is...

Tacking is not only a temporary stitch, it is also the term for starting off a seam with a few stitches back and forth in order to stabilize the work.


This is the 18th century term for a dressmaker...

A dressmaker is a person who makes custom clothing for women, such as dresses, blouses, and evening gowns.


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